Eagle Update: Sale of the Middle School
Most are aware by now that the school district has sold the former middle school property. When discussions took place on what to do with the property, there was plenty of conversation around community perception on why and how much. We asked questions like: how long do we hold on to the property before we have to invest large sums of taxpayer money to keep the building solid? What happens to the murals? Where will the district offices go? Where do we host our concerts and plays? Where can we go for all of the athletics that still happen here?
Going into it, we were all aware of the emotional attachment people in New Ulm would have, several spending many years as a student in the building. It is important to recognize this aspect. It was their school where they learned, socialized, spent evenings at events and eventually graduated from. This was a major factor in working to find a buyer who would keep the building intact, still allow for community events in the old auditorium and remain a fixture on State Street in New Ulm. The group purchasing the building is connected to New Ulm, live in New Ulm and some spent their time in the building as students.
As a school district, our priority is to provide programs and resources for the students of today and plan for students of tomorrow. The property on State Street doesn’t meet the safety or space requirements for educating students today. We can’t spend money to keep a vacant building running. Selling the property frees the district up to focus resources on our other buildings and programs for the kids we need to service today and tomorrow.
Over the course of the past nine months, the school board has tackled some heavy and significant topics. They spent the fall developing a district vision and goals for the next two years. The conference we were associated with was folded into a new conference for athletics and fine arts. We met with our representatives in the house and senate to discuss education bills and statutory requirements. Last week, the board sold the former Middle School property, approved a facility task force recommendation for future facilities and approved the FY15 budget.
It has been busy, but our work remains focused on students and how we prepare them to be ready for our community.